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After the Famine - A Devotion

After the Famine
After the Famine
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Matthew 5:6 (AMP)
Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!

I am finally home. After more than a month of caring for our son, I have returned to the rest of our family. When I walked in the house, no one was home but my husband and I. He unloaded the car as I ambled through the house. We have lived in this house for more than ten years now. God was good to us yet again and this trip was shorter than originally anticipated by our son’s doctors. Yet something is very different. I strained to look around and see if there was a change that I should notice but nothing caught my eye. In fact, some things were exactly where they were when I had left over a month before. Finally impatience got the better of me, so we got back in the car to seek out my girls. I knew once I saw them things might feel right. Walking into the hair salon where our daughter works, not only was I greeted by the girls but a host of our friends. What a welcome surprise, yet still deep inside that nagging feeling that something had changed. We laughed and visited together before heading back home. I continued to unpack trying to get back into the old routine but still something was out of place. Finally collapsing in my oversized chair with my 11-year-old lounging against me I was in a happy place as exhaustion began to overtake me. I looked around the room at all the faces my sweet family thankful for all God has done to bring us through this season and forge us together in His Love. It hit me at that moment. Nothing around me had changed at all. But I had changed completely.

The Lord call those who hunger blessed. Blessed means to be fortunate, happy, spiritually prosperous experiencing God’s Favor and Salvation. I am definitely blessed. He tells us in the Beatitudes that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness live in such a state. Jesus goes on to promise that those who do will be “completely satisfied”. I am not completely satisfied with my life. Before getting up in arms, the truth is neither are you and if you are you shouldn’t be. We have been saved by Jesus Christ not to make it through this life. He designated us to be raised back to God’s Glorious Standard of Living forfeited by sin. Being creatures of comfort, many times we settle for lesser things because they are still so much better than we ever imagined. Simple obedience leads to unprecedented blessing by the Hands of God. I cannot even fathom what is possible in radical obedience to the Lord when we surrender all that we are to all that He is. Righteousness or right-standing with God should cause us to pursue justice. Justice means that we should live in anticipation of every promise that the Lord has made to us when we accepted Him as Lord and Savior. I am definitely hungry although I am not exactly sure for what.

Shortly after everyone returned home, our daughters began to voice their hunger. Finally, my husband asked me what I wanted for dinner. I hadn’t really thought about food while unpacking but come to mention it I was hungry. When he asked what I wanted to eat, I had no idea. I just knew that I wanted food and didn’t really care where we got it. Not only did this explain my natural hunger, but at this very moment my spiritual hunger was revealed as well. I am hungry for what the Lord wants for my life right now. It would be easy to return to our old routine and my old life. In fact, I have cried out for this so many times over the last few years I am quite sure the Lord is sick of hearing it. But this time, it’s different. I don’t care what it is that He wants I just want to be satisfied. I know that I will only be satisfied if I want what He wants for my life enough to pursue it.

Ruth 1:11-18 (NLT)
But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters! Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD himself has raised his fist against me.” And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”
But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.

The story of Ruth is one of commitment to change. Her father-in-law passed away and then her husband and brother-in-law which left not only Ruth but her mother-in-law and sister-in-law in vulnerable positions in Biblical times. Naomi strongly encouraged both of her daughter-in-laws to return home. Both protested. So she went further to try to persuade them pointing out her obvious age and inability to produce a future for them. Orpah decided to heed her advice and returned to her family. Ruth refused to do so. She desperately answered her mother-in-laws logic as such “don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” Ruth was committed to Naomi. She had already decided that her future was with this woman and her family. Commitment to change is hard. No one really likes change unless it immediately provides relief or release. Many will settle for much less to not undergo the process of the unknown. This is a dangerous position. Why? “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith requires change with no tangible guarantee only one in our spirit. If you are not willing to make a commitment to change, you will not be completely satisfied ever. Hope is something we cannot see without faith it cannot be obtained. Without hope, our life will always end in disappointment.

Isaiah 49:8-12 (NLT)
This is what the LORD says: “At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them. Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again. I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare. They will neither hunger nor thirst. The searing sun will not reach them anymore. For the LORD in his mercy will lead them; he will lead them beside cool waters. And I will make my mountains into level paths for them. The highways will be raised above the valleys. See, my people will return from far away, from lands to the north and west, and from as far south as Egypt.”
Change is the process by which God changes us and the things around us to align with His Plan and Purpose for our life. The problem is not in the gift or giver but our willingness to receive. I will make my mountains level paths. I will lead them beside cool waters. I will raise up highways above the valleys. Each move of God requires willingness on my behalf to continue the journey. The pathway is called change. Orpah was fine with returning to the known comfort of her family’s home but Ruth wanted more so she was willing to travel to the unknown. Hope is the unseen reality of God’s Promises. Only those who are willing to undergo such a process will ever experience the freedom that is promised! So let’s keep moving…

2 Kings 8:1-6 (NLT)
Elisha had told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “Take your family and move to some other place, for the LORD has called for a famine on Israel that will last for seven years.” So the woman did as the man of God instructed. She took her family and settled in the land of the Philistines for seven years. After the famine ended she returned from the land of the Philistines, and she went to see the king about getting back her house and land. As she came in, the king was talking with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God. The king had just said, “Tell me some stories about the great things Elisha has done.” And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land. “Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!” “Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence.

The Shunem woman and I became more deeply acquainted during this last leg of the journey with our son. I was at a place of indignation. I mean really God – cancer four times. Once or twice clearly had to be enough of a test to prove our love for you. God introduced me to this woman’s journey from start to finish. To summarize, she made a place in her home for God’s Prophet Elisha. God told Elisha that He would bless her with a child after years of barrenness. God gave her a son. Son dies. Woman seeks out Elisha. She was angry that God would bless her with her heart’s desire and take it away. Elisha brings the boy back to life. He warns the family of famine that is coming so they leave their home land to ensure their safety. The woman is now returning to reclaim her property that has been given away. “After the famine ended, she returned to the land…” She goes to court to get her property back at exactly the same time Gehazi is sharing her story with the king. She affirms it all to be true. The king not only restores her land but redeems all the value of her crops that were taken in her absence. So when I read, “after the famine” I flipped back to Ruth. Why did they move from Naomi’s homeland in the first place? “In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him.” (Ruth 1:1) Naomi and Ruth were returning “after the famine”. This is where Ruth found her kinsman redeemer and Naomi found her peace and joy! The Shunem woman was committed to the Word of God and pursued the Way of God. Commitment to righteousness and remaining in right-standing with the Lord no matter what changes occur in your life will produce restoration and redemption in our life.

Famine produces extreme or general scarcity. It causes extreme hunger. I am hungry for what God has next for our family so much so that I am ready to do whatever it takes to know Him more and have His Way. I have returned home after the famine and now I am extremely hungry for Him once again. “By the power of your hand, O LORD, destroy those who look to this world for their reward. But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones. May their children have plenty, leaving an inheritance for their descendants. Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.” (Psalm 17:14-15)

Luke 15:17-20 (NLT)
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.

It would be unkind to call out everyone I know personally going through drought and famine in their life right now. The dissatisfaction in the Body of Christ is overwhelming. I will say that I also have been in a famine or drought personally. The journey with our son has honed my focus into the Lord, His Word, His Way and His Will as means of survival. I could not face each diagnosis outside of the Presence of God in my life. True story. Without faith, I am convinced that I would have died of a broken heart and our family would have fallen apart. But that is not what has happened at all. In this season, I have “finally came to (my) senses.” The lost son said, “I am dying of hunger!” Don’t get me wrong our pantry is full even though I have been gone for many months. A sweet family has provide food regularly the entire time that I have been gone. We have more than enough resources including clothing and otherwise to more than survive. However, now that I have changed my hunger has changed. I want what God wants for my family. God didn’t change. But I did. God longs to satisfy our life with good things. He wants to restore everything that we have lost on this journey that is from Him and designated for us. He will redeem our life with every promise we forfeited in complacency as we come to Him. I don’t know what the future holds for our son or us as a family! I know that the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony to overcome any and every obstacle that the enemy puts in our path. Change is coming. I am committed to this change even with all its discomfort because I know that it will ultimately lead to contentment. We will prosper in righteousness as we hunger for Him more. It is good. I will welcome change and newness of our life as we step into this new season after the famine!

Psalm 145:15-17 (NLT)
The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness.